Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Responds to COVID-19 (Updated 5/31/2020)

The University is actively working on contingency plans as operations change to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community. Updates on the University’s response to COVID-19 are continuously provided on UNC’s Coronavirus Updates page.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research will host regular Q&A sessions for faculty

  • Next meeting will be Monday, June 8th at 3:00 p.m.
  • Zoom details can be found here once available. Onyen login required.
  • All participants will be muted, so please submit any questions you have in advance to VCR@unc.edu.
  • If time allows, additional questions may be submitted on the Zoom chat.
  • Researchers are asked to join using computer audio and not call in separately due to limited capacity.
  • If joining by cell phone, participants should link their audio session to the computer session by inputting their participant code at the beginning of the session.
  • Recording of the May 27th Q&A session can be found here.

Key Takeaways for UNC Researchers

  • The University will resume research operations in facilities and labs on campus at reduced capacity effective June 1, 2020. Guidelines for the resumption process are available here.
  • Research will no longer be restricted to specifically approved “critical research activities,” and forms for that purpose will no longer need to be submitted to the OVCR.
  • On June 1, on-campus research operations and facilities will increase up to 50% of capacity. Restrictions will be loosened or tightened in the weeks and months ahead based on advice of public health experts.
  • The research deans of individual schools and the College of Arts & Sciences will be responsible for deciding how their units’ research operations will return to 50% capacity.
  • While research facilities will resume operation at reduced capacity, all research that can effectively be done remotely should continue to be conducted remotely and not on campus for reasons of health and safety. The OVCR’s research support offices continue to be open and operating remotely to provide full support to the research enterprise.
  • UNC researchers must follow specific guidelines while working on campus, including monitoring health and reporting onset of symptoms, wearing University-approved face masks inside facilities, maintaining six-foot physical distancing and adhering to specified sanitation and hygiene practices. Additional information regarding resuming operations on campus can be found here.
  • Essential services to UNC laboratory buildings have been maintained since the University ramped down in March. These will expand as the volume of research on campus increases.
  • After June 1, 2020, access to research facilities will no longer be limited to employees designated as “mandatory” through UNC HR.
  • Human subjects research that requires participant contact should adhere to these guidelines.
  • The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) has been providing care and support for research animals since reduced operations began in March. When working in animal facilities, coordinate with the DCM staff to maintain appropriate distancing and other safety procedures. Detailed guidance on working in animal rooms will be posted soon.
  • The Office of Human Research Ethics and the Office of Animal Care and Use are receiving and reviewing protocols normally and board meetings are proceeding on schedule.
  • Specific questions about research operations during the outbreak should be directed to staff in the relevant research administration offices. These offices are open and continue to serve our researchers. Questions may also be submitted to vcr@unc.edu. We will provide further guidance and direction as more information becomes available.
  • Note Concerning Travel and Parking: Travel for UNC business is currently restricted to North Carolina and is not permitted outside of the state at this time. The University will release more information about travel when we receive further guidelines from the UNC System and the State. Information on changes to University parking policies and public transit can be found at the University Transportation & Parking website.
  • This information is a part of the University’s overall response to COVID 19. For full details of the University’s response and how it could affect you visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Coronavirus Updates page.
  • NIHNSF, and DoD have released guidance permitting flexibility during the COVID-19 situation. Specifically, NIH permits salaries to continue to be charged to grants even if there is a work stoppage caused by the pandemic. NIH and other agencies permit travel costs to be charged if the travel was disrupted by COVID-19 and those costs cannot be refunded.
  • The OVCR is organizing a research study team to develop a voluntary COVID-19 surveillance study that includes testing and contact tracing. This team’s work may inform future decisions around the conduct of research on campus.

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active COVID-19 research projects at the university (UNC community only; log in with your onyen before searching.).

Browse projects by category

As specific guidance from funding agencies is developed, this list will be updated.

COGR Resources

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Department of Defense (DoD)

Department of Energy (DoE)

National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR)

The Office of Human Research Ethics and Office of Clinical Trials are open and able to support researchers at UNC.

Clinical research that provides an immediate benefit for the health and well-being of a participant should continue; however, going forward, this work will be subject to guidance and direction from UNC Health. The UNC Health coronavirus websiteshould be consulted for direction regarding such research.

The COI Program is open and its staff continue to support researchers at UNC.

The individual COI Committees will meet remotely as needed and the COI Chairs continue to assess the expedited reviews. Reports or certifications to sponsors such as organizational COI or FCOI reports are continuing to be processed and submitted as needed.

COVID-19 FAQs for this office are under development based on inquires being received from the research community.

FAQs for faculty and staff on human resources issues during the COVID-19 outbreak are being provided through the UNC Office of Human Resources.